Friday, October 17, 2014

#94: Humanity

Season: 6

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
MacGyver and Pete are in Bucharest going through the archives of a dead Romanian dictator when they are attacked by loyalist soldiers led by Major Krik.  One of the soldiers, Victor, takes MacGyver hostage in the forest, and the two men start to build rapport as MacGyver helps Victor deal with an unpleasant memory.  Victor must then choose between helping MacGyver or completing his mission for the Major. 

Memorable Quote:
You taught me well, Major.  ~Victor

Highlight:
Good scene in the beginning when MacGyver is trying to open the safe to contain the blast from a bomb.  Cool music too.  

Lowlight:
I'll go with the part where MacGyver is behind a tree hiding from Victor and saying things to himself like "this is nuts" and "what am I doing."  He comes off as a person who's never been in danger before rather than a seasoned veteran.  

Best MacGyverism:
Uses car pipe to shoot off a flare.  I can't tell exactly what materials he's using here.  

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • We open on the streets of Vancouver Bucharest and see some classic MacGyver formal attire: sport coat that is too long, collared shirt buttoned to the top, and high tops.  
  • At the 5:09 mark of the show, Major Krik sets the bomb for 1 minute, 50 seconds. Then at the 6:52 mark, the bomb is at 50 seconds.  The magic of television, ladies and gentlemen.  
  • 7:10 - there are 30 seconds left on the bomb, and MacGyver is trying to open the safe by listening for the clicks through a speaker magnification.  "I got one!" he says.  "Way to go," Pete responds with the enthusiasm of a doorknob.  
  • Oh no, MacGyver's been shot!  Time to update the Shot Chart!
  • But not to worry, because MacGyver tells Victor he'll be ok because the bullet "went right through."  We see two small circles of blood on MacGyver's shirt - one on his front left shoulder and one on his back.  I don't know that I'd consider a bullet going through me twice as good news, but the wound doesn't seem to slow MacGyver down much at all during this episode, so what do I know.  
  • The actor who plays Victor is good, so much so that I had assumed he was an Eastern European, but in reality his name is Brooks Gardner.  
  • Speaking of Victor, not sure if I should count him as a wingman.  He ends up being a good guy, but he also tricks and shoots MacGyver at various points in the episode.  I think I'll leave him off the list.  Too bad, because he would have been a good wingman. Looks a lot like Val Kilmer also.  
  • Runner up for memorable quote:
    • "Victor, there was nothing you could do."  ~MacGyver
    • "I could have lost."  ~Victor
  • This mighty resistance army that is a threat to the new government consists of about 5-6 guys running around the forest.  Granted the production budget had limits and this was before CGI where they could have made a digital army.  We see this from time to time in MacGyver, like in an episode I'll talk about later where 5 U.S. states are at the mercy of an old lady and three guys in a silver mine.   

Final Analysis:
A dark episode, complete with 11 year-olds fighting to the death with knives (not shown) and a violent ending.  I like the concept of two people on opposite sides who find common ground and rise above their differences.  The dialogue straddles the line between inspiring and hokey, but it has a theatrical quality to it, like I could see some of the scenes being done as a play.  It made me think of The Gauntlet on the bus when younger MacGyver talks about wanting to travel the world, meeting people and seeing how they're different and the same.  In a way, he gets exactly what he hoped for with this episode.  Coming up next time, don't tell me MacGyver's going to get shot again?!

5 comments:

  1. While I don't disagree this episode had a couple of minor problems that I would have liked to have seen cleaned up, I thought it was a mostly fantastic hour and one of the few MacGyver episodes that was more character-driven than plot-driven, with a fantastic premise about the deconstruction of a soldier brainwashed since childhood to fight for a cause he doesn't even understand. The high point of the episode for me was the interaction between Major Krik and Victor after MacGyver was captured, when Victor was teetering on the edge between MacGyver's worldview and his loyalty to Krik. The ending was spectacular.

    As for the downsides, I'll concur that MacGyver was too much of a smartass early on in Victor's presence and it made their early interaction hard to swallow. The random and uber-convenient "snake in the woods" trope that shifted the power dynamic from hostage-taker to hostage really seemed shallow for the magnitude of the overall storytelling, and MacGyver's ability to distract trained soldiers enough to shanghai them simply by tossing a fishing reel into a shrub and yanking the line was also cringeworthy. These moments took some power out of the episode but I still rate this one pretty strongly at #70.

    One more quick point about your bomb observation that I picked up on after watching it a couple of times. The clock wasn't set for 1 minute, 50 seconds....but for 150 seconds, which matches the 2.5 minutes that Krik announced before the place "burned to ashes". And I would rate MacGyver's microscope from the loudspeaker that allowed him to hear the tumblers in the safe lock as the MacGyverism of the episode more so than his tailpipe flare.

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    1. Good catch on the timing! And the loudspeaker is a good MacGyverism for sure, I could have gone either way.

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  2. This episode was made by the perfect casting of Victor, who started out like the typical Bond villain's henchman - slicked back hair, steely expression and ruthless violence! Luckily MacGyver could appeal to Victor's 'humanity' and there was an effective, if slightly disturbing in their premise, use of flashbacks to reveal why he was in turmoil. I agree that certain points, such as the fishing line distraction, did detract from the gritty nature of the story but on the whole it was a different and well done episode. I did enjoy Pete's rather over-the-top yell of; "They've got MacGyver!", when Victor initially took MacGyver hostage in the basement of the archive building!

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  3. i just watched this in the uk,if the guy servived would have been interesting if he went back to america and had a runnning with murdoch.

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  4. "At the 5:09 mark of the show, Major Krik sets the bomb for 1 minute, 50 seconds. Then at the 6:52 mark, the bomb is at 50 seconds. The magic of television, ladies and gentlemen."

    Hahahahahaha! Good one and so true. :)

    "there are 30 seconds left on the bomb, and MacGyver is trying to open the safe by listening for the clicks through a speaker magnification. "I got one!" he says. "Way to go," Pete responds with the enthusiasm of a doorknob."

    ROFL! Nick now cut that out and be nice to Pete! :)

    "I think I'll leave him off the list. Too bad, because he would have been a good wingman. Looks a lot like Val Kilmer also."

    Wow you are right! He DOES look like Val Kilmer! :)

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